Last Modified: 21-2-2019 3:15
Seddon is a small town south of the Awatere River . Official 2006 census figures give a permanent population of 513, which is a net decline since 1996, however the population is boosted substantially by seasonal workers employed to work in the vineyards of the Awatere Valley.
The town is named after NZ premier Richard Seddon . Originally the town was a service centre for the surrounding pastoral farming activities. During the Second World War, a linen flax mill was established to meet the needs of the allied war effort. The town also benefited from the railway passing through the town.
In the 21st Century, the town has enjoyed a new lease of life with the rapid growth of viticulture in the region. Workers from around the world have come to work in the vineyards of the Awatere Valley, and the resulting requirements for accommodation have seen a mini building boom, and the establishment of backpackers in Seddon.
The old Seddon railway station has been converted into a cafe and art gallery to cater for the many tourists and locals who pass through the area to experience the local wines.
A long complaint of many locals was the historic road/rail bridge just north of Seddon, on State Highway One. The bridge was unique in that the railway bridge was built on top of the road bridge, however the road bridge was only single lane, and uses wooden decking which was not well suited to heavy vehicles.
A new two lane concrete bridge opened in 2007, and the decking was removed from the lower deck of the old bridge, with the claim that the cost of annual inspection would be too high to justify leaving the bridge intact for cyclists and pedestrians.